A SUPERB partnership between Chris Nash and Ed Joyce laid the foundations for Sussex to record their first Yorkshire Bank 40 win of the season at Northamptonshire today (Friday).
The Sharks' vice captain and captain combined to put on 173 runs for the fourth wicket, which guided Sussex from 12-3 to 185-4, with the Sharks eventually closing their innings on 215-7.
And the bowlers then did the business, restricting the Northamptonshire Steelbacks to 122-9 from 26.3 overs as the Sharks bounced back from their disappointing defeat to Worcestershire on Sunday to win a rain-affected match by 61 runs, under the Duckworth/Lewis method.
The Sharks won the toss and decided to bat as they looked to put their below par performance at Hove behind them.
But they started poorly, with Luke Wells, Matt Prior and Rory Hamilton-Brown all falling cheaply as the visitors were reduced to 12-3 in the sixth over.
However, opener Nash found a steady partner in Joyce, with the pair soon settling into a rhythm and surpassing 50 in the 13th over of the innings.
The Sussex pair continued to flourish, scoring at a similar rate as they reached 100 in the 23rd over, with both batsmen passing 50 soon after.
As the innings wore on, Sussex started to increase the run rate, with Nash and Joyce keeping up with each other as they brought up a 150 run partnership.
The fourth wicket stand was eventually broken in the 35th over as Joyce was caught by Trent Copeland off the bowling of Steven Crook, bringing an end to a fantastic innings from the Sharks' skipper, with 90 runs coming from 91 balls.
Nash continued at the other end, but his new partner Ben Brown was soon trapped lbw by Copeland, bringing Michael Yardy to the crease.
Going into the final over of the Sharks innings, the visitors were 211-5, with Nash five runs short of a deserved century.
However, he was dismissed in the first ball of the final over as he flicked a Copeland delivery to mid wicket, falling for 95 from 106 balls.
Chris Jordan was then bowled with the final ball of the innings as the Sharks closed on 215-7, with Copeland finishing with fine figures of 5-32 from his eight overs.
The Steelbacks' reply started with the Sharks attack of James Anyon and Jordan keeping it tight, before Jordan struck in the fifth over, trapping Stephen Peters lbw for 20.
Anyon then dismissed Northamptonshire captain Alex Wakely in the next over, before he had Kyle Coetzer caught by Michael Rippon to reduce the hosts to 42-3.
Alex Sales and Matthew Spriegel then steadied the ship for the Steelbacks, but the introduction of seamer Chris Liddle into the attack had the desired effect for the Sharks, with Sales caught at deep mid wicket by Prior for 24 to reduce the hosts to 78-4.
That was the final piece of action for a while as rain prompted a delay in the match, with seven overs being lost from the Northamptonshire innings.
A reduced target of 195 from 33 overs was set, but the Steelbacks lost wickets at regular intervals after the resumption and never looked like chasing down the total as they limped to 122-9 from 26.3 overs when the rain came down again.
Chris Jordan ended as the pick of the Sussex bowlers with his best List A figures (3-20), while Liddle took 3-31, Anyon 2-30 and Yardy 1-22.
Sussex now travel to play Warwickshire in the YB40 competition on Sunday at Edgbaston.